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Photo by Emanuel Wallace

I didn't know a lot about the Cleveland Cavaliers before this year. If I tried to Google the word "Cavalier" I would get distracted by all the pictures of King Charles Cavalier Spaniels. Prior to binge-watching the playoffs and Finals, all I knew was LeBron was a big deal. I kept hearing the name Kyrie Irving, but until 2015 I thought Kyrie Irving was some sort of pop star, but I wouldn't be able to tell you what her song was.

Sports were never on my radar. I thought basketball was the literal interpretation of someone saying "Jump!" and the athletes respond "How high?" The answer is always "Real high."

I heard while LeBron was gone, the team, for lack of a better word, sucked. I guess it had been dark times. How could it not have been? He broke up with us on television. And we only now have the ability to hide ex's on Facebook.

He came back (they always do) with the appropriate pomp and circumstance. Then I got the opportunity to go to a playoff game (the one prior to Kevin Love getting injured by, I think, Larissa Oleynik, star of The Babysitter's Club and The Secret Life of Alex Mack). I went because the tickets were free and it was something to do. Otherwise I would have been home re-watching Gilmore Girls, parsing it for meaning.

But it was AMAZING. There was fire. There were 4X T-shirts which make great sleep and/or painting shirts. My boyfriend put me in charge of waving around the foam glow-stick. And I was released from using my indoor voice. Oh yeah, and we won the game. From then on I was a fan. I don't consider myself a fair-weather fan; I just have good timing. I'm like an absentee father only emerging when things are going really well.

Coming in late, I didn't (and still don't) know the stats of all the players. I know Mark Price was really good and my brother still has a little figurine of him that he uses as a sort of talisman during the games, but other than that, I can't tell you who's good at what. Obviously, they're all phenomenal, whether you agree with it or not, because they made it to the NBA. As it turns out, Mark Price is long-retired, so I've just been picking my favorite players on the grounds of how nice I think they are as people.

Like how I think Matthew Dellavedova wouldn't give me any shit about picking my mom up from the airport.

Or how James Jones might be really into what I have saved in my Netflix queue.

Or how Timofey Mozgov would nod politely while I spew all my office gossip that he doesn't understand.

And J.R. Smith? Well, I think J.R. Smith would at least call me a cab home.

The best part is, unlike movie celebrities, these guys are actually accessible. I've had at least three friends post pictures with Mozgov, so it's safe to assume he's becoming the Kevin Bacon of the Cavs. I think if you walk around Sam's Club long enough, you'll encounter Tristan Thompson. And you'd think an Iman Shumpert sighting should be easy enough with that hair, but we don't run in the same rap circles.

As I go to more games, I see they do fun stuff like Throwback Night, much like the themed frat parties from college. Will there be a Pirates and Wenches Night soon? Anything But Clothes Night? Toga Night? At least with the Toga Night, LeBron wouldn't have to put up with sleeves. I am a little bummed at the recent Throwback Night they didn't wear the super short shorts. But I guess I already saw LeBron's junk during the finals, which surpasses seeing the outline.

During the summer I started to get antsy because I wanted all the same people to come back in the fall so I wouldn't have to learn any new names. Tristan Thompson was holding out for more money and I was thinking, "Why Tristan? You're saving big at Sam's Club, you don't need ALL the money!" We ended up getting all our guys back and added a few new ones. We got another Russian guy so Mozgov could have a buddy.

Becoming a Cavs fan has been an adventure. I'm making new friends at bars and learning new terms like "double technical foul" or as I like to call it, "double secret probation technical foul." Things are looking good so far this season. I have a newfound love, and now that it's getting colder, all those tiny cuts on my hands from the winter air will bleed wine and gold.

More by Kali Fencl


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